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Judge fines petitioners for challenging Israel's arms sales to Philippines

A judge imposes a fine on petitioners who brought suit against the government in an attempt to end its arms exports to the Philippines, sending a clear message to those protesting Israel’s complicity with some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Judge Gilia Ravid of the Tel Aviv District Court issued a ruling Thursday on the petition filed by human rights attorney Eitay Mack on behalf of more than 50 human rights activists, who demanded that Israel cease its arms exports to the Philippines. As is customary with petitions of this kind, the hearing was held in camera and the ruling itself was embargoed. However, in an unusual move, the judge imposed a 10,000 NIS ($2,800) fee in legal costs on the petitioners — the only part of the ruling that was cleared for publication.

In response to the state’s request, the hearing was held in camera “to prevent any damage to state security and foreign relations.” While this is the norm for such proceedings, one cannot help but wonder about the motive behind and effectiveness of such a request, since most of the evidence submitted by the petitioners was already in the public domain and had been reported by both Israeli and international media.

The petition was based on official press releases by Philippine authorities that lay out the arms purchases from Israel in detail. The evidence includes posts on the Facebook page of the Philippine police, Coast Guard, and a weapons company that facilitates sales with Israel, in addition to official reports published by Philippine police, the Defense Ministry, and government media.

During Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Israel in September 2019, he admitted to ordering his security forces to purchase weapons only from Israel, since, as opposed to the United States, Germany and even China, Israel does not place any restrictions on its arms deals. He made this statement at a press conference in Jerusalem, in the presence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and several world leaders.

How Duterte’s government is using these weapons is also no secret. According to human rights groups, since Duterte assumed office in June 2016, Philippine police and militias associated with it have killed at least 12,000 people without due process, as part of the regime’s “war on drugs.”

If all the information in the petition is open and available to the public, why was the hearing held in private? And why was the judge’s ruling embargoed? As usual, the magic...

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The origins of Israeli racism lie in our hyper-militarized society

Israel was established and continues to exist in a mentality of constant war. Our racism is only a symptom.

One of the most influential institutions in Iranian politics is the Guardian Council. Among its many roles, the Council filters out presidential candidates, deciding who can and who cannot run in the elections. It even has the power to disqualify former presidents, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from running again. And as befits a religious dictatorship, its considerations are far from democratic.

And yet, after Ehud Barak announced his return to Israeli politics last week, I couldn’t help but envy the power of the Guardian Council. While the Iranians have a turnover of their own failed or corrupt leaders, we seem to be stuck in the endless loop with our own figureheads.

Barak’s re-entry into politics helps clarify the choice that Israelis are facing in the upcoming elections: militarism or racism. On the one hand we have a right-wing camp headed by Netanyahu, who over his 10-year rule has institutionalized racism against the Palestinian public. On the other hand, we have the “anyone but Bibi” camp, headed by the generals of Blue and White and Ehud Barak’s new party, respectively.

It is true that both camps are rife with militarism and racism: much of Netanyahu’s political capital was built on the back of his brother, Yoni, who was killed while commanding an elite IDF unit during Operation Entebbe in 1976. On the other hand, the general’s camp derides Palestinians, and its refusal to join forces with the Palestinian parties has contributed to the incitement and delegitimization of the Arab public writ large.

The difference between the two camps is the ratio between the two components and the kind of discourse with which they are associated: Netanyahu is seen as promoting a kind of shameless, folksy racism, while the generals peddle a hawkish security-based discourse.

We intuitively tend to scorn the blatantly racist discourse more than the militaristic one, perhaps because the latter is more transparent to us. But in my view, Israeli society’s entrenched militarism is actually the more difficult disease to treat, both in terms of diagnosis and prognosis.

The truth is that in the current Israeli reality, the two seem to us indistinguishable. Israeli children get a healthy dose of both racism and militarism from a young age, from the moment they are drafted into the ranks in kindergarten, preparing care...

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Palestinian kids are arrested every day. This time it's my friend's son

All my friend’s son wanted to do was pass his high school exit exams and go on to study at a university. Now, like thousands of other Palestinians before and after him, he is behind bars. No one knows why.

Several days ago, a dear friend who lives in the West Bank city of Jenin called to tell me that his son had been detained by the Israelis. Perhaps “kidnapped” would be a more precise way of putting it, since no one bothered informing the family of his whereabouts. It took two whole days to find out where he was being held.

I have known this boy, who is not yet 18, since he was a small child, when his father was imprisoned in Israel. I would meet the father’s friend at the Hizme checkpoint outside Jerusalem to pass along presents for the boy, and while in prison the father would tell me all about his boy, who was then only a small child.

The last time I met the boy was a few months ago; he spoke about his plans to go to university once he finishes high school. He may be the nerdiest teenager I have ever met — shy, studious, and curious. When it was time to go, he and his younger brother gave me a scented candle and prayer beads as presents. The beads have been hanging in my car ever since.

As is quite common in the Israeli military court system in the occupied territories, the boy has yet to be charged with a crime. Moreover, neither he, his family, or his attorney have been informed of the nature of the arrest. His parents cannot even imagine what the authorities might accuse him of. What kind of crime can you pin on a kid whose sole interest is passing his exit exams?


I think about him and then about Dean Issacharoff, the former spokesperson for anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. After a two-year witch hunt, the Israeli state prosecutor announced last week that he concluded Issacharoff was in fact telling the truth when he said he had beat a Palestinian man during his military service. The saga began after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked personally called on the state attorney to try and debunk Issacharoff’s claims. She wanted to prove, once and for all,...

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In Morsi's death, Israel proves it prefers a non-democratic Middle East

Israel is not interested in democracy as a value. On the contrary — it has a great deal of interest in making sure it keeps bearing the title of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’ 

While many Palestinians were perturbed by the death of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, and Knesset members of four of the Arab parties called for an investigation of the circumstances of his death, official Israel ignored Morsi’s death almost entirely. The only thing that Israel was interested in, in that regard, is the question of whether the government in Cairo can “handle the challenge,” meaning, whether it can succeed in suppressing the storm that might erupt in Egypt following his death, which still has many questions hovering over it.

As an entity that constantly speaks of democracy and insists on calling itself the only democracy in a Middle East otherwise held hostage by tyrannical and brutal rulers, one would have expected some official response from Israel on the death of the Egyptian president who was elected in the country’s first democratic elections ever.

True, the election results that brought Morsi into power in 2012 were not to Israel’s liking (even though Morsi clarified immediately that he did not intend to cancel Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel, and was committed to it more than Netanyahu ever was to diplomatic agreements Israel had previously signed). But leaders who were democratically elected by their people don’t have to be liked by their peers, because the nature of the rule is supposed to outweigh the ruling personality. In other words, the question is whether Israel is interested in a democratic Middle East, or in tyrannically rulers it can “do business with.” This is a rhetorical question, of course — one which Israel hasn’t really deliberated on.

One doesn’t have to go as far as Egypt to assess the depth of Israel’s “commitment” to the idea of democracy when it comes to its neighbors. It’s enough to recall its reaction to the election results of the Majles al-Tashri’i — the Palestinian parliament — in 2006. Israel likes to harp on the “Hamas took over Gaza” mantra, but Hamas did not take over the strip; it won democratic elections. This, however, doesn’t prevent Israel from barbarically punishing Hamas and the people who voted them in over a decade ago.

There’s quite a bit of irony in the fact that Israel itself contributed to Hamas’ victory;...

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Building a new Mizrahi political home in Israeli politics

Mizrahim, like much of the Jewish-Israeli public, are sinking into a kind of fortress nationalism. The key to change can be found in an alliance with the Palestinians.

After effectively destroying the Israeli Labor Party by leading it to an unprecedented low in the last elections, chairman Avi Gabbay announced on Thursday that he is quitting politics. Kulanu leader, centrist politician Moshe Kahlon, came crawling on all fours to Prime Minister Netanyahu after he too crashed in the elections. Orly Levy, who broke away from Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu to form the centrist Gesher party, didn’t even make it past the election threshold.

The sun seems to have set on three of Israel’s most promising Mizrahi politicians. But do the election results signal the end of Mizrahi politics? Do Mizrahi politics even exist in the first place?

The Mizrahi issue in Israel finds itself in a difficult catch-22: it is a popular topic of heated public debate yet hardly makes a dent come election time. Mizrahi candidates usually view their ethnic background as an electoral asset as long as it helps them to be seen as “of the people” — one of the most exhausting tropes applied to Mizrahim.

Not only the poor

To be fair, Orly Levy’s story is slightly different. She managed to cobble together an excellent women-led, feminist list that included several veteran Mizrahi activists. But Levy is viewed as a Mizrahi politician mainly because she dedicates herself to social issues, which leads to yet another catch-22: the Mizrahi issue is widely seen as synonymous with issues of social class.

This identification, however, is a dangerous and manipulative reduction of Mizrahi discourse. Mizrahi identity is not just about poverty, the periphery and economic oppression — it is first and foremost a political option. Representation is only part of this option, just as adequate gender representation is only one of the components that comprise a feminist worldview. Yet not every woman in a position of power is necessarily a feminist, and the same goes for Mizrahim.

The question of what comprises Mizrahi politics is a complex one, if only because in many ways the category of Mizrahiness itself is an artificial construct forced upon a group of diverse communities by the Ashkenazi establishment in the years after Israel’s founding. One would be remiss, however, to define this category solely through the Ashkenazi gaze. If Mizrahiness wants to become a political alternative,...

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The price Mizrahim pay for serving in the Israeli army

Mizrahim are forced to carry out the dirty work of the occupation, coming face to face with their Palestinian subjects in the West Bank. It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is hard to know for sure what kind of considerations are at the heart of the growing crisis between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, which may result in snap elections, should they not be able to form a coalition together.

But there is something almost ludicrous about the fact that they are unable to agree upon an issue that, in all respects, is one of the biggest collective frauds in our public discourse: forced conscription for ultra-Orthodox Israelis.

The fraud starts with the notion that one could ever deign to designate the Israeli army as a “people’s army” through forced conscription of all its citizens. The “people,” of course, refers to Israel’s Jewish citizens alone; Palestinian citizens of Israel have no part in this story, anyway.

But even among Jewish Israelis, forced conscription is far from being a consensus issue. Professor Yagil Levy, who researches the relationship between the army, politics, and Israeli society says that the struggle to enlist the ultra-Orthodox, the majority of whom refuse to serve in the IDF, represents the downfall of the notion of the “people’s army.” And while that term has been emptied of all real meaning, the unrelenting demand to conscript all Jewish Israelis has made the career of a number of cynical and opportunistic politicians.


There is no reason, then, why we should not broaden the conversation on forced conscription to other groups in Israeli society, including Mizrahim (Jews from Arab and/or Muslim countries).

Alongside the lie of a “people’s army,” Israel’s militaristic ethos has helped bolster the deception of the role of the military as the great equalizer of Israeli society — the admission ticket to Israeliness itself. But the tracking of Mizrahim — which begins in the neglected neighborhoods and development towns of the country’s periphery and continues with the sending of many Mizrahi teenagers to vocational schools — continues in the IDF.

There, they are sent to take part in policing and fighting against Palestinians in the occupied territories, while middle and upper-class Israelis tend to serve in special units. As with educational opportunities, in the army, Mizrahim are sent to the periphery to serve as the...

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No, escalations do not begin with rockets on Israel

Israel might have the power to tell itself and the rest of the world a story of victimhood. In reality, it has been abusing two million besieged Gazans for over a decade.

As the number of casualties on both sides of the Gaza border continues to climb, Israeli politicians are busy having their age-old argument: should we destroy Gaza? Erase it? Or should we send it back to the Stone Age? I propose we draw a different lesson from the horrific violence that, as of this time, has already taken the life of 16 Palestinians and four Israelis: we Israelis need to learn Arabic.

I am aware that my proposal is far less attractive to most Israelis than a “solution” that includes more violence and bloodletting, but in the long run it may just be the most effective. Learning Arabic, after all, is the only way to overcome our ignorance regarding what is happening on the other side in between rounds of “escalation,” which according to Israel always begins with the first Israeli casualty.

The first thing one learns in every introductory history course is that history is written by the victors. That may be true, but it does not erase the role of the vanquished. Perhaps history is written by the winners, but it is created by all actors involved.

Israel can tell both itself and the world any story it wants. It can talk about “escalation” only when rockets fall on the south or about terrorism only when its citizens pay the price. It can erase the barbaric blockade on Gaza, the endless starvation of its population, the snipers who kill unarmed protesters, the shooting at fishermen, the lack of potable water, the electricity, the infrastructure, the economy and the unemployment.


Yet none of these will cease being part of the history in the making of occupation and violence. With all due respect, a narrative cannot replace reality, and in reality, Israel has been abusing two million besieged Gazans for over a decade. What did we think would happen? That because the strong have the power to tell the story the weak would simply vanish?

Those who follow Arabic-language media outlets in between rocket attacks on southern Israel will discover a parallel universe that the Hebrew media hardly cares about. For them, “escalation” is not equivalent to rocket fire on the...

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Nearly half of Knesset members were born into a reality of apartheid

Young Israeli lawmakers are arriving in parliament after an entire life in which Israel’s control over Palestinians is the natural state of the world.

No fewer than 49 new members of Knesset took their oath of office on Tuesday, in large part thanks to the dizzying success of the stand-for-nothing Blue and White party. The new Knesset boasts way fewer women and many more young members: 26 of the freshman class of parliamentarians are in their 30s. The youngest among them, Yorai Lahav Harzano of the Blue and White party, is 30.

In a normal world, perhaps that would be a source of hope. In our reality, however, young Israelis are more religious, conservative and right wing than their peers in the club of Western democratic states to which Israel claims to belong.

According to a new study on voting trends in Israel by Dr. Noa Lavi and Dr. Irit Adler from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, from 2008 to 2016, 64.3 percent of young Israelis between the ages of 18-29 voted for right-wing parties. In the 30-55 age group, only 54.9 percent voted for the same parties, compared to 57.3 percent among Israelis who were 56 years and older.

Just under half of the members of the 21st Knesset were born after June 1967, when Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Almost all the other members were either children or teenagers at that time.

Even if we set aside for a moment the questionable nature of Israel’s “democracy” in the years prior to the ’67 occupation, about half of Israeli lawmakers today have not known a single day without explicit apartheid —Israeli rule over an area in which two separate legal systems apply for two sets of people whose civic status is defined differently. Like their older colleagues, the younger members of Knesset have also not known a reality in which Arab citizens of Israel were perceived as citizens with equal rights rather than as a demographic threat. In all their years of education, it’s unlikely that they’ve come across a map of Israel that addresses the Green Line in any way. It is even less likely that even a few of them could draw the boundaries of occupation on a map.

What sort of democratic consciousness can develop in such a reality? The young members of Knesset are arriving...

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Who needs Bennett when Netanyahu is already annexing the West Bank

Unlike satellite right-wing parties, Netanyahu advances the annexation of occupied Palestinian territories with little public scrutiny and at no cost.

Israeli politics provide very few moments of relief for the beaten-down left. That Naftali Bennett’s “New Right” party might not make it past the election threshold, and that his political partner, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, might have to beg the Supreme Court — which she so much abhors — to defend her political survival, are certainly two examples of such relief.

But the joy over Bennett and Shaked’s troubles, justified as it may be, must not interfere with our reading of the political map. The pro-settler right does not appear any more moderate — in fact, the opposite is true.

Yes, the hubris with which Bennett and Shaked resigned from the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party and their decision to form another right-wing party most likely had a negative impact on their base. So too did Netanyahu’s last-ditch campaign — a scare tactic used to push people to vote — along with the fact that these elections were a referendum on the political legitimacy of a prime minister suspected of corruption. This, however, is only part of the story.

More than anything, Likud’s election victory teaches us that Israelis have internalized that it is more effective to promote a far-right agenda through an omnipotent ruler than through the establishment of satellite parties, which are easily labeled as extreme and are more susceptible to domestic and international scrutiny. In other words, right wing voters preferred actions over empty declarations.

Right-wing ideology, from Netanyahu to the last of the Kahanists, rests on four primary ingredients: absolute rule over Palestinians, delegitimization of Palestinians both as individuals and as a nation, eradicating democratic spaces, and Jewish supremacy.

Netanyahu has promoted each of these elements in frightening efficiency over the past decade. Annexation is not necessary to entrench Israeli control in the West Bank to the point of no return. In fact, it would be more potent to present it as a fact on the ground, through gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in the occupied territories, enlarging the Jewish settler population, exploiting the West Bank’s natural resources, and obstructing any possibility for growth of Palestinian leadership, among other things.


To deepen incitement and delegitimization against Palestinian citizens, there is...

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Israeli conscientious objector sentenced to 30 days in prison

After 18 months of service in the Israeli army, Roman Levin told his commanders that he was no longer willing to participate in the oppression of the Palestinian people. ‘When I visited Ukraine, I encountered disrespect toward Jews. This is how my empathy for the Palestinian people developed.’

The Israeli army sentenced 19-year-old Roman Levin to 30 days in prison on Tuesday for refusing to continue serving due to his opposition to Israel’s occupation.

Levin, from the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, immigrated to Israel with a few members of his family from Ukraine when he was 3 years old. Around 18 months ago he enlisted in the army, believing his service would contribute to society and fulfill his duties as a citizen.

Mesarvot, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest of the occupation, accompanied Levin as he was taken to Prison 6.

In his refusal statement, Levin wrote:

My refusal is an act of protest against the occupation that has been going on for more than 50 years, and an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

When I visited my family in Ukraine, I encountered disrespect toward Jews, and in Israel, too, my friends and I were treated with contempt for our different ethnicity and culture. This is how my empathy for the oppressed Palestinian people developed. There’s a civil war going on in the Ukraine, and when I visited there a few months ago I met soldiers who have no idea what they’re fighting for, and end up dead. I could relate to them, because I, too, don’t believe in Israel’s military policies, which are predominantly about maintaining the occupation. This experience led me to think about the meaning of my military service.

I refuse to keep participating in the oppression of the Palestinian people. In the [occupied] territories, more and more settlements are being built while Palestinians are subjected to policies of land confiscations and home demolitions. Since 2006, Israel has destroyed more than 2,000 homes in the occupied territories. Palestinians have limited freedom of movement, both inside their homeland and when traveling outside of it, as the Palestinian passport is ranked 189th in the world, and in the Gaza Strip this right is revoked entirely.

I served in the army as a...

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How to turn human rights activists into 'traitors' in a few easy steps

The Israeli right’s years-long effort to portray Breaking the Silence as traitors fell flat on its face this last week. Will the media or the politicians who incited against them apologize?

One day in the future, when high school students learn about the transformation of Israel from a nationalistic fortress state into a fascistic one, an entire chapter will be dedicated to the persecution of left-wing activists and human rights groups. The chapter will describe at length the role of three central bodies in this destructive process: extreme-right organizations, the media, and politicians from across the political spectrum.

One of the lessons, presumably, will be dedicated to Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation group that publishes testimonies by former IDF combat soldiers about their service in the West Bank and Gaza. The organization, which has been the target of the right for much of the past decade, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing earlier this week after Israel’s attorney general said he wouldn’t launch an investigation against the group for illegally collecting and possession military intelligence.

Those allegations first surfaced three years ago when Channel 2 News broadcasted an “exclusive investigative report,” based entirely on materials gathered by right-wing moles from Ad Kan who infiltrated Breaking the Silence with hidden cameras and fake monikers. The report suggested the organization illegally collected and published classified information on IDF operations, handed over sensitive intelligence to hostile groups, and turned new army recruits into spies.

The report aired not long after Channel 2 broadcasted an investigative report into the alleged criminal activities of Ta’ayush, another anti-occupation group. That footage was also gathered by Ad Kan activists, leading to the persecution of a number of the Ta’ayush’s most prominent members. Right-wing organizations quickly understood that Ad Kan’s strategy works: sling mud at left-wing and human rights groups, and something will surely stick.


The right’s incitement began immediately following the report on Breaking the Silence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that a “red line has been crossed.” Then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the IDF would investigate the organization, going so far as to calling them “traitors.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accused Breaking the Silence of espionage.

The incitement extended far beyond the Israeli right. Politicians from the center-left also took advantage of the story for political capital: Yair Lapid declared that “Breaking the Silence is undermining the State of...

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Israel's Nation-State Law also discriminates against Mizrahi Jews

Mizrahi academics and activists demand Israel’s High Court strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it erases their cultural legacy and perpetuates injustices against both them and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Over 50 prominent Israeli Jews of Mizrahi origin filed a petition to the High Court of Justice on Tuesday demanding it strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it discriminates against both Palestinian citizens and Jewish Mizrahi citizens of Israel.

According to the petition, the law, which demotes Arabic from an official language to one with “special status,” is “anti-Jewish” for excluding the history and culture of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries, “while strengthening the impression that Jewish-Arab culture is inferior…and anchoring the identity of the State of Israel as anti-Arab.”

The petition, which was written and submitted by Attorney Netta Amar-Shiff, also refers to a clause in the law that establishes Jewish settlement “as a national value.” According to the petitioners, every time Israel takes it upon itself to demographically “re-engineer” the land, it harms Mizrahim by pushing them into the country’s underserved geographical periphery. This process hinders their access to highly-valued land through admissions committees, which allow communities across the country to reject housing applicants based on their “social suitability.”

Among the signatories are renowned author Sami Michael, Professor Yehuda Shenhav, Professor Henriette Dahan-Kalev, Israeli Black Panther and social justice activist Reuven Abergil, among others. (Full disclosure: the writer is one of the signatories of the petition). According to the petitioners, Mizrahim were largely excluded from the law’s formulation, despite the fact that it would affect their community’s right to preserve its heritage, and that its blatant anti-Arab bias would adversely affect Jews from Arab countries.

Following Israel’s establishment, authorities did everything they could to suppress Arab identity and culture among immigrants from Arab and Muslim countries through a forced “melting pot” doctrine, leaving them both materially and culturally disenfranchised. More than six decades ago, Israeli diplomat and Arabic scholar Abba Eban said: “The goal must be to instill in them a Western spirit, and not let them drag us into an unnatural Orient. One of the biggest fears… is the danger that the large number of immigrants of Mizrahi origin will force Israel to compare how cultured we are to our neighbors.”

For 70 years, this worldview formed the basis for how Israel viewed Mizrahim. The political establishment demanded Mizrahi Jews renounce their Arab identity,...

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How did revenge become a military objective?

When Israeli military commanders call bereaved families from the field to confirm they’ve gunned down their child’s accused killer, security considerations are not at play — that’s just an army exacting revenge.

There is something almost spellbinding about the speed with which the Israeli government is tearing off the masks that once afforded its policies a veneer of decency. From the Jewish Nation-State Law to the cultural loyalty law to the law to legalize settlement outposts, from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s anti-Semitic friends to the blatant racism of his son who publicly yearns for a country cleansed of Palestinians — official Israel is not even pretending anymore. Everything is out in the open now.

This trend is also being reflected in the operations and policies of the Israeli army. Without any way of providing Israeli citizens with security and quiet in a reality of endless military occupation, it seems that the army’s main way of dealing with the Palestinians is sowing fear and collective punishment. This is done through demolishing homes belonging to family members of those who carry out violent attacks, a move that has been repeatedly deemed as ineffective by high-ranking officials in the army itself; through frequent raids of Palestinian cities supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, carrying out mass arrests that severely harm the PA’s image as an autonomous government; and by opening fire on unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Now the army has added another operational objective: exacting revenge on behalf of bereaved Israeli families. When Israeli security forces killed Ashraf Na’alowa, the Palestinian accused of murdering Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi at the Barkan Industrial Zone earlier this year, one of the first people to be notified was Rafi Levengrond, Kim’s father, who was briefed by the IDF Central command within five minutes of Na’alowa’s death. “It was important for me to inform you […] before it was published in the media,” Levengrond was told.

The family of Sgt. Ronen Lubarski, who was killed earlier this year during a raid on Al-Amari refugee camp, were also briefed as the family home of Islam Abu Hamid, the accused killer, was demolished over the weekend. “This morning, the commander called me from the field while the house was being destroyed,” Ronen’s father, Vladimir Lubarski, told Ynet. “It was important for him to speak to me first.”

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